Summary: Annual stewardship sermon. Tithing and giving
SBC Philippi 10/23/05 am
Rev. Jeff Simms
Being a Good Steward
Primary Purpose: Encouraging people to give their tithe and offerings as an act of obedience
This is one of those passages where a basic understanding of the situation the reader was in is helpful in interpreting what is happening and how it really relates to us. We know almost nothing about who Malachi was or if that was his proper name. There is no mention of a Malachi as a proper name anywhere else in the Bible. Many people think that Malachi was a title because the name actually means “my messenger”. Nevertheless, Malachi was a brave and courageous prophet who spoke the Word of God to the people. It is believed that Malachi wrote these words about 100 years after the people came back from Babylonian captivity that would be around 450-400 B.C..
The problems mentioned in Malachi mainly have to do with worship and how their carnal relationship with God affected their relationship with others. The main problems in Malachi are:
1. A polluted worship- they were offering weak and sick animals on the altar as an offering to God 1:7,13. They were claiming to give the tithe, but weren’t. God clearly says that he is not pleased with them for this. 1:10. He says that he desires that his name be treated with respect and as a great name. He is to be treated as a great king. He would rather them not bring anything than to show such disrespect to Him 1:10. Notice the concern that God has for His name again. God is concerned that we show proper respect and reverence for His name in worship.
2. The people were not respecting the marriage covenant and divorce was prevalent. Marriage is to be until death do you part, not until you find someone better. God hates divorce. 2:16. This tells us that God takes the covenant that we make with our spouses at the marriage altar to be sacred and special. Jesus taught the same idea in Matthew 5:31-32.
Another reason that God had for telling us in his word not to be bound together with unbelievers 2 Corinthians 6:14. The unbeliever has a tendency to discourage the believers walk with the Lord and to drag them down. If you remember, King Solomon had many wives who led him astray with all of their idols. The idols of the unbelievers were a particular stumbling block for the Israelites who married foreigners. Sometimes the unbeliever’s idols in their lifestyle can still become a stumbling block for believing spouses.
3. A lack of reverence for the name of God and a sense of self-righteousness. Two times the people answer God’s statement with a question in 1:2 God declares his love for them and they ask “How hast Thou loved us?” Then, again in 3:8 they ask how have we robbed Thee?” For God accuses them of Robbery in their worship and giving. But, they can’t see their own sick even though they are worshipping with sick and blind animals and treating others with contempt 3:5.
Tithing and Worship
Tithing in the Old Testament was seen as an act of worship. Their was a variety of ways to give offerings in the Old Testament and in the early church. The word tithe is literally a “tenth part”. We are commanded here to bring that tithe into the storehouse vs.10. The word storehouse (rcwa pronoucned o-tsaw’) has to do with the storage rooms inside the temple of God or the house of God. God commanded back in Lev 27:30-33; Numbers 18:20-32; Deut 14:22-29 that we are to tithe what we make in our employment. That is what God requires of us to give to the church with which we are a member.
The offering was different in that it was like the free will offering. Notice that a different word is used in verse 8 for that. The word offering (ter-oo-maw’) literally means a contribution and there is no designation of a percentage on that. It is a free will offering and it is up to the individual to pray about that and give what they can. Deut 16:17 tells us that we are to give as we are able and as the Lord has blessed us. When Paul was gathering a free will offering to the church in Jerusalem that was experiencing hardship he said in 2 Corinthians 8:12 that if “the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he does not have.” Then again in 2 Corinthians 9:7 Paul says that we are required to give with a “cheerful” heart. A free will offering is like some of the special offerings we have today for a particular ministry or to missions like Lottie Moon offering.